1860: On this Day in History, Abraham Lincoln Elected 16th President of USA

America's Greatest President? Lincoln was elected over a deeply divided Democratic Party becoming the first Republican to win the presidency.


On this November 6th day in 1960, Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th president of the United States over a deeply divided Democratic Party becoming the first Republican to win the presidency.

Lincoln received only 40 percent of the popular vote but handily defeated the three other candidates: Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, a U.S. senator for Illinois.

Lincoln, a Kentucky-born lawyer and former Whig representative to Congress, first gained national stature during his campaign against Stephen Douglas of Illinois for a U.S. Senate seat in 1858.

The senatorial campaign featured a remarkable series of public encounters on the slavery issue, known as the Lincoln-Douglas debates, in which Lincoln argued against the spread of slavery, while Douglas maintained that each territory should have the right to decide whether it would become free or slave.

Lincoln lost the Senate race, but his campaign brought national attention to the young Republican Party. In 1860, Lincoln won the party’s presidential nomination.

In the November 1860 election, Lincoln again faced Douglas, who represented the Northern faction of a heavily divided Democratic Party, as well as Breckinridge and Bell. The announcement of Lincoln’s victory signaled the secession of the Southern states, which since the beginning of the year had been publicly threatening secession if the Republicans gained the White House.

Buy on Amazon.com – Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln’s political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

By the time of Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4, 1861, seven states had seceded, and the Confederate States of America had been formally established, with Jefferson Davis as its elected president. One month later, the American Civil War began when Confederate forces under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

In 1863, as the tide turned against the Confederacy, Lincoln emancipated the slaves and in 1864 won reelection. In April 1865, he was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The attack came only five days after the American Civil War effectively ended with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.

For preserving the Union and bringing an end to slavery, and for his unique character and powerful oratory, Lincoln is hailed as one of the greatest American presidents.

Other Notable Events on this Day in History


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  1. Although I was born at Cleveland, Ohio in 1939, I was fortunate to grow up in a small town Sierra Madre, California from 1943-1966. I didn’t have to walk as far as Abe to borrow books as the magnificent old nineteenth century building which housed it was only about 3 blocks from our house and even still had iron ties in the front curb to tie horse and a dirt circular drive for buggies. They had on permanent display the many volumes by the world authority on him Carl Sandburg. I read most of them and grew up idolizing Lincoln. When I left in 1966 to make a new life in a new place in Georgia as a physics professor I married a fabulous woman from Alabama who was herself a gifted scholar in mathematics and English and teacher. Interactions with her family and other new friends made here made me realize my adulation for Abraham Lincoln was misplaced and wrong. I changed my opinion of him from hero to villain. You see I had not thought about the question of what was his legal authority to kill upwards of 1 million and destroy and plunder half the country for the purpose of “keeping the Union together”. If you read the Constitution you will not find any legal authority for that at all. Moreover since slaves were considered property, he had a duty to pay owners for them when he released them but again violated his oath and paid them nothing. He went through general after general until he came upon a drunk (who personally owned slaves) and a psychopath to do his dirty job for him, Drunk Grant and psychopath Sherman. You see bully North sought to impose a 40% sales tax on the South. How would you like to pay that kind of tax? After all New York was built by black slave labor. All thirteen Colonies had slaves. This was the custom at the time right or wrong, like it or not. If you think slavery was eliminated by Dishonest Abe, watch “Harvest of Shame” by Edward R. Murrow in 1960 a century later. Today we all work about half our lives just to pay taxes for our outlaw government to conduct similar wars killing innocent children and civilians all over the planet. We are all virtual slaves today. I was wrong about Dishonest Abe. He is an unindicted war criminal like many of our leaders today. He also thought he had dictatorial powers when “elected” president by 39%. Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., Physics

    • Think about this: Abraham Lincoln, “elected” president by a tiny minority of 39%, clearly did not have a mandate to do much did he? In fact the Confederacy, which VOTED to leave the Union had no, zero, representation Washington, D.C. during those war years and for many years later when they were gang raped by the Carpetbaggers who came down South to steal everything not nailed down. Voting is a peaceful act. Lincoln could have said to them, “Go, you will be back in 20 years and we will welcome you back.” This would have avoided untold death and suffering and plunder of priceless homes and property. This would have been the legal and reasonable thing to do. But no, instead, likely for the first time in his life, Lincoln sought to use military armed force to resolve a political problem. He failed and was totally wrong morally and legally. He is not a hero but an unindicted war criminal. Monuments to Confederate giants are now coming down. It is monuments to Dishonest Abe which must come down if we are to acknowledge the massive lies told in American History classes. Here is the link to Harvest of Shame by top investigative journalist Edward R. Murrow on Thanksgiving Day, 1960: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJTVF_dya7E Please watch it and show it to your kids and grandchildren to show them what a day’s work really is and how we are all nothing but virtual slaves in America today about 150 years since the illegal and unnecessary Civil War conducted by Dishonest Abraham Lincoln.

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